The Patriots like their players versatile, and in linebacker Jamie Collins they found a veritable football Swiss army knife.
Bill Belichick joined Mike Mayock on NFL Network this afternoon to discuss the Patriots' draft through five rounds, and the coach raved about Collins' well-rounded game, somehow leaving out that Collins actually played quarterback in high school, leading Franklin, Miss. to back-to-back state title games as a sophomore and junior.
"Jamie's an interesting player," Belichick said. "He came to Southern Miss as a safety, then moved to inside linebacker in his sophomore year. As a junior he played outside linebacker in a 3-4 [scheme] and then senior year he was a defensive end on a four-man line . . . He's a guy that has been a solid player for them and done a lot of different things in four different roles in different systems and different coaching schemes and so forth over the course of his career.
"I think he's handled it very well. He's a big player that can run and performed well for them in the kicking game. We'll let him come in and compete with our group and see what he can do. But I think I like a lot of the things he brings to us."
The Patriots selected the 6-foot-3, 250-pound outside linebacker 52nd overall. He'll be fighting for playing time among an experienced group of 'backers, but as a rookie, his breadth of positional experience in college may give him a bit of a head start.